Friday, 4 December 2015

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz at Northern Stage

You know already that we need little in the way of convincing to attend one of Northern Stage's productions and we are great fans of their Christmas show, last years Get Santa was the first 'big people' (7 and up) show that I had taken Peanut to see and we love love loved it. so when we were invited along to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz we said yes immediately

 


'Join Dorothy, Toto, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion this Christmas for a brand new re-twisted production of the classic children’s story. Expect magic, mayhem and new music in this festive treat for adventurers aged 7+ (and their families)'

 

And so we did indeed join them, this year we were a party of 2 adults a 5 and a 7 year old, I was nervous how The Golden Child at age 5 would find it all but Peanut has talked about this for months so I was sure she would be fine. I'm not a huge Oz fan so have only seen the movie a couple of times and my kids haven't seen it at all (sorry sorry I'm a bad mammy) but I did think this was a very brave choice on Northern Stages part, after all Wizard of Oz has a huge and devoted following of fans, so to create a 're twisted ' version of the story for the stage could have been a big risk.

I'm pleased to say it wasn't! The story doesnt follow the movie exactly but does stay mostly true to the original. There are new twists on old characters and also some new characters too. Tessa Parr plays Dorothy with a quirky edge and not a touch of gingham or 'girly' attire She does however portray kindness courage and encouragement for those in need. We loved Alice Blundell's healthy hippy version of Glinda and even more so her puppetteering of Winkie Slave. Carl Kennedy gave a perfectly humourous and witty Tin Man, I mean Nick Chopper

 

and Micheal Blair drew me in to his love struck Lion character very well indeed. With a very convincing sometimes funny and sometimes scary Wicked Witch, Zoe Lambert had the crowd suitably on edge especially towards the end.

There were points when my Golden Child was afraid, especially at the half tiger half bear creature sent by the Wicked Witch to stop Dorothy and her gang. The kids didn't quite get all the humour (But I don't think they were meant too)but they did laugh and cheer and enjoy the show. The army of mice were favourites with the kids but I have to say the humour of mice pulling mouse poo amunition from their pants was a little lost on me!

My favourite parts of the show were the amazingly clever sets and props, the beautifully designed costumes and the music!

 

Performed by Jeremy Bradfield (who also plays The Wizard) the music is all performed in a tiny cubible on stage and its amazing to watch him create fabulous tunes and sounds with many many instruments! The kids loved Winkie and honestly I think the grown ups all found him (it?) rather endearing too.

 

I could wax lyrial about all the things we loved, like the supporting parts cleverly performed by the ensemble, the funny lovely munchkins, the brilliant Direction from Mark Calvert but I don't want to give too much away. Let me tell you the show is cleverly written, brilliantly designed and performed fantastically. Its entertaining, scary, funny and uplifting all at once. Its great value for money and you should definitely go see it. The show runs until 2nd January 2016 with tickets starting at £14.50 And you can book tickets online or by calling the box office on 0191 2305151

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